Event: Beyond Best Practices - How Seattle Symphony Redefined Campaign Process to Exceed Goals

April 30 - May 2, 2017 in San Francisco, CA: AFP International Conference

Sometimes you fly the plane—and high—before you even build it.

What do you do when you need to raise capital—but feasibility studies say you are not ready? For Seattle Symphony, the process was anything but traditional, and led to an unorthodox approach that was well underway—and yielding major gifts—before formal campaign preparation had even begun.

After two studies suggested otherwise and a year and a half of preparation was being carefully thought through, the organization’s development staff was busy securing among others, two ten million dollar gifts, and finding a wholly unique approach to campaign execution—one that addressed previous gaps and engaged donors in an exciting, hands-on manner collaborating to help shape a successful process.

What the 100m campaign proved, with its very successful outcomes, was that best practices may not always fit circumstances. This session will explore the challenges faced by Seattle Symphony at a variety of junctures, including organizational dynamics that influenced poor donor participation and how those were ultimately overcome, as well as the steps development took to navigate the dual processes of an already underway campaign that was still being formally developed while gifts were rolling in—and how attendees can challenge established thinking about when is the best time to embark on campaigns, and how to do so.


Craig Hightower, Vice President, Campbell & Company

More information coming soon!

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